Written by: Julie
I saw an advertisement on Facebook for an exhibit called “The Compassion Experience”, which is an organization that has a sponsorship program for children living in poverty. I actually saw it last year too, we weren’t able to go and I honestly don’t think we were ready. My son was too young, I wanted him to actually understand where these kids are coming from and what they had to deal with on a daily basis. I don’t know about you, but my kids (and I) have everything we need and more! We are so blessed to live the life we have. I’m glad we have been following our path and been able to make the decisions we needed to be where we are today. It has been a little rocky (wink) as life should be.
I have talked with a few people about doing mission trips, dispel-ships or anything related to that and they have all had the same conclusion. It turns out, doing a mission project of any kind ends up being more of a personal experience rather than being about helping others. It is great in all ways because it brings people together for a cause, sharing, learning and helping others while you help yourself! WIN-WIN, right!? Our story is no different then what I just mentioned. I am not writing this to brag or make you think I’m a good person, rather to share my experience. I never understood the rewarding benefits we would receive until we chose to participate in a sponsorship program.
The Compassion Experience we saw was 2 exhibits you walk through with headphones listening to the personal stories of a child from the Philippines and Kenya. It was very powerful and a great way to visually see what the kids had to go through and how the Compassion program has helped them out of poverty. They are both grown now and living well.
The last room is lined with pictures of children to sponsor, talk about making your heart hurt! Sadly, I’m sure there is no end to the list of kids that need assistance. We went there prepared to start a sponsorship in hopes that my 4 year old would be humbled. He was. Picking from a wall of children we know are desperate for help was not easy. My husband left the room. I was trying very hard not to think to much into it. I simply looked for a child around 4-6 yrs old. I picked the first one I saw! (PHEW) As I picked up the envelope, I felt like I was holding this little boys life in my hands. I seriously was holding on to it with both hands, I looked at the guy with tears in my eyes, nervously smiling and said, “What do I do with this?”. It was a very simple process to get started but emotional for me. I don’t know if I’m just a basket case or if others felt the emotional flood. I’m sure my husband did, that’s why he walked out!
When we got home that day our son wanted to tape our new child’s picture next to his bed. I cried. I also taped his picture to the refrigerator so we can see him all day as we so easily open it to get food. I smile every time I see his sweet face and hope we are helping him as much as he helps us. Before we chose to sponsor a child we went over with our son about what we were going to do and how it was important to understand and help others. We told him in order for us to do this we were going to have to give some things up like buying a pretzel at the mall and other unnecessary consumables. He was eager to do it and whenever he wants something we don’t need I remind of him why. He has been fine with it every time.
So far, this has been a gateway to many questions and an eye opening experience for our family. It is so easy to forget all the people that are struggling in this world. I did a bit of traveling and saw with my own eyes the way some people have to live. It was a life changing experience but easy to forget when I personally don’t have to deal with it everyday and had an airplane flight to return home.
I am using this experience within our homeschooling to learn about the country our sponsored child lives in, the way he lives, what he eats and the things he has to do. We talk about how he doesn’t have as many things so easily available like food, clean or hot water, a comfortable bed, etc. We pray for him and his family’s safety. It is a fantastic way to introduce prayer because our 4 yr old has something special and important to pray about. I’m so excited to give this child hope and encouragement. I don’t think he will understand until he gets older that he gives us just as much hope and encouragement.
I’m so thankful that we can be a part of this child’s life and he can be a part of ours. The Compassion website makes it easy for us to write letters and send pictures to our child. This is yet another great activity. I’m anxious to look back at a lifetime of letters to and from this boy who has such an impact on our lives. We got a letter from the company saying that our child knows are names! How amazing it that!?!?
Do you or have you ever thought about sponsoring a child out of property? We would love to hear your experience! Leave a comment. Thank you